Citizens in Ottawa protest against vaccine mandates

Zahra Khan, Staff Writer

Given the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, Canada has enforced strict vaccination mandates to ensure the state’s safety during these unprecedented times. Given the borders being open and then closed again, business travelers and transport sector employees are required to be vaccinated.

As a result, the apparent unrest against the various vaccination policies protests started to rise in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. According to The Guardian, protesters have been relying on cars and trucks as a blockade in the downtown streets which prompted the mayor of Ottawa to declare the situation as a “national emergency.” 

A group known as the Canada Unity announced earlier in January they would be launching a “freedom convoy” to protest the vaccination mandates. These “freedom convoys” were said to capture the views of the far-right group and anti-vaccination groups scattered around the globe. Protestors drove down the streets of the city, forcing themselves towards the various businesses located in Ottawa. The most number of protesters seen yet in this “freedom convoy” is 10,000 people, in which 100 trucks parked themselves in front of the various Parliament buildings leading to a series of road closures “including Ambassador Bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, preventing traffic from passing over the bridge,” according to The Hill. 

As a result of multiple properties and streets being blocked by the “freedom convoy,” protests may be subjected to a criminal offense. According to the police department in Ottawa, protesters could be arrested without a warrant if “you are a party to the offense or assisting others in the direct or indirect commission in this offense.” 

The issue of protest against the state’s vaccination mandates is not a new concept anymore. The increasingly alarming use of protests to display anger towards COVID-19 policies can be seen emerging all around the globe. For instance, according to the New York Times, some of the protesters against vaccination mandates have gone insane, with some spotted wearing “Nazi symbols and decreasing public monuments”, while other Canadian protesters described themselves as “ordinary citizens.” These protests were said to raise millions of dollars in online campaigns, inspiring protests in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States in the near future.